Stepping up their campaign against tobacco products, police in Ludhiana carried out back-to-back raids on nine locations Saturday night, including the Chaurasia Pan chain store, and arrested eight people. No less than 19 hookahs, 17 packets of smoke flavorings, nine packets of charcoal used in hookahs, 19 metal and earthen vessels (chilams), 11 packets of paper, a pocket hookah and other contraband were recovered from their possession.
The defendants were identified as Sunil Chaurasia of Maharaj Nagar, Rahul Chaurasia of Hargobind Nagar, Hari Chand of Gobind Nagar, Rohit Chaurasia of Peeru Banda of Salem Tabri, Mohit Kumar of Gurdev Nagar, Vinod Kumar of Gobind Nagar, Navin Chaurasia of Joshi Nagar. Haibowal and Ramji by Gobind Nagar. The owner and manager of the Niomi restaurant near South City managed to escape during the raid.
Police Commissioner Kaustabh Sharma said he received reports that the defendants serve hookahs among locals and that their customers are mainly young people and teenagers.
During the raids, the police caught the accused serving hookah and tobacco products.
Nine FIRs under Sections 6, 7, 20, 24 of the Tobacco Act and Section 188 (disobeying an order lawfully issued by an official) of the Indian Penal Code have been registered against the accused.
The police commissioner had extended the ban on serving hookah on Thursday. In the order, the commissioner said any hotel, bar or lounge found serving hookahs would be dealt with harshly and legal action would be taken against the owners.